1. The end of the epidemic?
Despite the current occurrence, some voices are declaring that after this sixth wave of the Omicron strain championship (it appears to be milder, and undoubtedly more contagious), the epidemic will enter a final phase. Microbiologist Adolfo García Sastre (of Mount Sinai, New York) has pointed out — cautiously, though — that once this alternative is mastered, it will be difficult for a new wave to invade us. “The virus cannot continue to improve, it has limits,” he declared. Bill Gates – a traditional target of conspirators – predicted in his blog that the most severe phase of the epidemic will end “sometime” in 2022. This year, new vaccines and antivirals are also expected.
2. In the end, more budget
Good news for laboratories. Science and Innovation Minister Diana Morant has announced changes to this year’s science law in order to combat fragility (betting on perpetual contracts) and bureaucracy. In addition, figures for science have increased in state budgets (an increase of 19% compared to 2021). A large part of the European funds (2279 million) will go to laboratories and research centers. More than just education, SMEs or tourism. The strengthening of the science wing is determined by the rapid response that science has given to the battle against Covid-19.
3. Artificial intelligence
This year, the use of artificial intelligence will be extended and enhanced. We will notice a strategic investment by large companies, especially in the banking, insurance and health sector, and the booming of start-ups associated with this field, given its potential, and through approved entities. This increase will also bring more incentives and a greater reflection on their use and on the true benefit of man, especially in the field of economics. This year will be crucial to solving the challenge posed by the data age, especially ethical.
4. A new phase in NASA
Jim Green, the company’s chief scientist, left the position after more than 40 years at the US agency. He has directed missions to Pluto with the New Horizons spacecraft, to Jupiter with Juno and to Mars with Curiosity (a feat that will complete 10 this year on August 6) and has launched Internet at the foundation. Among the challenges facing NASA’s Green Leaf is stiff competition from other space agencies such as China’s CNSA, Japan’s JAXA or Russia’s ROSCOSMOS. In 2022, Green will miss the end of the DART spacecraft mission, whose main mission is to sway the asteroid Demorphos to deviate its course.
5. 200 years of Louis Pasteur
In 2022 we celebrate the 200th anniversary of one of the most fundamental figures in science. Chemist, inventor, and bacteriologist, he discovered a food preparation process known as “pasteurization” and developed a vaccine against anthrax and rabies. The founder of microbiology and the pioneer of modern medicine, the work started by Pasteur continues to save millions of lives and acts as an antidote to false prophets.
6. Special missions
It’s called Axiom Mission 1 and it will depart for the International Space Station on February 28. Michael Allegria (Spain-USA), Larry Connor (USA), Mark Bathy (Canada) and Eitan Stipe (Israel) will be part of the Crew Dragon crew. The mission, operated by Space X and Axiom Space, will be the first to be launched to the International Space Station for fully commercial purposes. After this flight, the unstoppable Axiom plans to deliver manned missions twice a year. The initial project was the presence of actor Tom Cruise and director Doug Lyman, who were planning to make a movie.
7. Club of Rome
In 1972 the Club of Rome, an international non-governmental organization founded in 1968, released an influential report commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to “Delineate the Limits and Physical Obstacles of Planet Earth to Human Reproduction and Human Activity” headed by biophysicist Donella Meadows of Limits of Growth. As José Manuel Sanchez Ron notes in one of the chapters he added to the new edition of The Power of Science (which Crítica will publish this year), it has been estimated – population growth, food production, industrialization, the depletion of natural products and pollution. “The vast majority of important non-renewable resources today will have very high costs 100 years from now.” The year 2022 reminds us of the 50th anniversary of a very serious warning.
8. Metaverse and 5G
So far, the epidemic has been delayed. 5G technology can certainly bridge the digital divide. The fifth generation of mobile phones will make it easier for the world, information and data to move faster. To all this will be added the virtual worlds (or dimensions) of the so-called metaverse. The greats of networking and video games have already laid their eyes (and their money) on this virtual space that will revolutionize the way we interact.
9. Gene editing
In 2022, new studies on the CRISPR gene-editing tool will be published and new regulatory criteria around its use can be approved, something that inertia demands. Initiated by Alicante University microbiologist Francis Mujica, and perfected by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuel Charpentier (2020 Nobel Prize laureates), the journal PANS recently published work describing how to modify genes in vivo to correct them. Disease such as hereditary amyloidosis. Medication on demand.
10. Basic sciences
The UNESCO International Conference declared 2022 the year of basic sciences for sustainable development. Thus, the United Nations seeks to promote the incremental progress of the program that will lead us to the 2030 Agenda.
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